Samuel W Durant.

History of Oneida County, New York : with illustrations and biographical sketches of some of its prominent men and pioneers online

. (page 151 of 192)
Online LibrarySamuel W DurantHistory of Oneida County, New York : with illustrations and biographical sketches of some of its prominent men and pioneers → online text (page 151 of 192)
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crat to take any stock. But the war closed, cloth fell to .^5 a yard,
the factory failed, and the stockholders lost heavilj', while the Demo-
crats escaped. The old factory building still stands on the south side
of the creek, and is used as a cooper- or machine-shop of some sort,
driven by the water which fiowts to it through an arched stone flume,
dug some thirteen feet deep.

"state of religiok.

'In 1S02, Rev. John Taylor, a native of Westfield, Mass., a gradu-
ate of Yale College, visited this part of the country, and made a report
of the state of religion, which will be found in the third volume of
the ' Documentary History of New York,' on page 673. August 3, he
states that at Trenton, six miles east of Floyd, he put up with Rev.
Mr. Fish, from New Jersey, who was then employed part of the time
by the people of that town, and the remainder rode as a missionary.
Then again he writes, 'Trenton, August 4. — 17 miles north of Utiea.
In this place there is no church formed. A majority of the people are
Presbyterians ; the remainder are Baptists and persons of no religion,
and a few Methodists.' He adds ; * I visited a school of 50 children,
who have a good instructor.'

" After the school-house was built, the people met there for public
worship. Mr. Jones says (hat Mr. Fish was the first preacher who
visited the town, and that he is named as the first pastor of the church
at Holland Patent, which was orgmized in 1797, and it would seem
that the Presbyterian Church must have been organized here about
the same time; and yet Mr. Tuttle, of Holland Patent, informs me
that the deserted stone Presbyterian Church was not built until 1821,
and Jones states that previous to 1822, Rev. Mr. Ilarover preached
alternately at Trenton and Holland Patent.

" People from North Gage, South Trenton, and beyond Trenton,
came to attend service in this stone church. In 1805 or 1806, Rev.
John Sherman, who wa;* a grandson of Roger Sherman, of Connecti-
cut, the signer of the Declaration of Independence, which Mr. Silsbee
has just read to us, became pastor of the Unitariiin Church in this
village, over which Mr. Silsbee is now settled, and this is said to be
the first Unitarian Church established in this State. Their church was
not built until 1814, and soon after this Mr. Sherman resigned and
Rev. Isaac B. Pierce, of Rhode Island, succeeded him.

"Mr. Sherman, in 1812, started an academy here, which was suc-
cessful, and at which he educated many who regard his memory with
groat affection and respect. He was a fine scholar. He published a
work on the philosophy of language, illustrated, much in advance of
his time, and is said to have been an eloquent preacher.

"From his first coming, in 1805, Mr. Sherman was captivated by
the ravine and falls on the Canada Creek, and, impressed with the
conviction that the singular beauty and wildness of this combination
of falls, forest, and ravine must ultimately make it a place of re:'ort,
he purchased of the Holland Land Company, in 1822, 60 acres of land,
including the first fall, or Sherman Fall as it is termed, and erected
on the site of the present hotel a small building which he called Rural
Resort. At first his house was opened and occupied only during the
day, but, in 1824, Philip Hone and his family, and Dominick Lynch
of*New York, with his family, insisted that they should be allowed
to remain over night, and Mr. Hone inquired of Mr. Sherman why



he did not orect a building of sufficient size and furniture to entertain
guests. To this question Mr. Sherman replied by asking him if ho
ever knew a minister who had any money. Mr. Hone met this diffi-
culty by tendering and making a loan of $5000; and thus we have
our favorite Trenton Falls House, where resides our friend, Mr. Moore,
with his wife, the daughter of Mr. Sbermun, and with a family suffi-
ciently numerous always to meet his friends at the gate.

" Rev. Isaao B. Pierce, from Rhode Island, succeeded Mr. Sherman
as pastor over the Unitarian Church. lie seems to have been much
beloved by his people, and Mr. Jones, in his Annals, states that he
preached here twenty-five years, to the entire satisfaction of his
people. I cannot imagine a severer test. lie had some of that sim-
plicity of character and need of help which appeared in our Dutch
settlers, and endeared them to their friends. He kept 13 cats, and
had names for them all ; and he clung with most commendable tenacity
to knee-breeches and shoe-buckles long after they wereout of fashion.
"You have living in your neighborhood u. man who was born
before any white man ventured to think of settling here, — Vincent
Tuttle, of Holland Pateot. He was born in 1790, and now, eighty-
six years old, with a firm step and sound memory, he is here to cele-
brate with you this centennial Fourth of July. He came here in March,
1804. He tells me that at that time the clearing was only as far as the
place where the Prospect Railroad Depot now stands j that all north of
that, including the ground where Prospect Village now is, was covered
by a dense forest; that he helped cut the road towards Prospect, in
front of Mr. Wm. Perkins' land, in 1307; that the village of Prospect
was laid out by Colonel Mappa in 1811, and by him named Pros-
pect; and that when he came here Colonel Adam G. Mappa resided
where we are now assembled, but in the frame house built by Gerrit
Boon; that in 1809, the Holland Land Company built, at a cost of
$13,000, this stone mansion, which has witnessed many assemblages
of distinguished people; that in 1804 the stone grist-mill on the flat
was in good order, but the dam had been carried away by a flood.
This mill was built by Boon, at the expense of the Hollaud Company,
to save the settlers the time and labor and difficulty of walking to
Whitesboro' to get flour. The location of this dam and mill proving
unfortunate, the Holland Land Company abandoned it, and built a
new grist-mill on the Cincinnati Creek, a few rods below the location
of Parker's present foundry, at the foot of the first fall below the
bridge. This company also built a saw-mill on the site of the present
saw-mill. These mills the Holland Land Company sold to Peter
Schuyler, who owned and ran them several years, and then sold out
to James Parker, an important and early settlor, who occupied and
ran the mills many years, day and night, doing u, large business,
customers coming from Steuben, Kemscn, and Doonville to have their
grist ground. The farmers then raised their own wheat and had it
for sale. But until a grist-mill was built here they could obtain no
flour without walking from here to Whitesboro'. The road was im-
passable in any other way. There was no flour then to be purchased
at stores. The whole community was intensely excited about the
grist-mill. They could not run the risk of the old location ; that
must be abandoned, and a reliable mill built at once. This was done,
and thereby a great trade was brought to Trenton. Tailors and boot
and shoe m;tkcrs had no shops, but went from house to house mend-
ing and making up for the year. The women of the country carded
by hand the fleeces of wool clipped by the farmers. They spun and
made yarn, and then by hand-loom^, such as is worked to-day by
Mrs. Perkins, at Prospect, they wove their own dresses, which lasted
for years, and were handed down from the mother to the youngest
child; and the farmer sowed flax, and when it was broken and made
ready for the spinning-wheels, the women took it and made all their
linen for household uses.

" You can readily imagine, therefore, what a blessing to the women
was a carding- and fulling-mill; and so there was rejoicing in ibis
land when, in 1806, a man by the name of Ensign put up a carding-
and fulling-mill on the Cincinnati Creek, just above the foundry.
The falls on the creek opposite the Prospect Depot are sometimes
called Ensign Falls, — after the builder of this carding- and fulling-
mill. He sold out to Timothy Powers, who built new and larger
works, and did a great deal of business for several years. His card-
ing-mill stood where the present foundry is located. The first male
child born in the town was ii, son of James Parker, already men-
tioned ; he was named Adam, after Colonel Adam Mappa, although
many supposed he was called Adam because he was the first man.
" George Parker, another son of James Parker, was the father of

Messrs. Parker who now own the foundry. He was a very ingenious
mechanic. He learned his trade with Shubael Storrs, a watch-maker
in Utica, and then returning to Trenton, built a. foundry on the
Cincinnati Creek, just above the present foundry. This was subse-
quently turned into a grist-mill, which was a short-lived aflFair, and
the building now remains unoccupied.

"Mr. Tuttle informs me that in the fall of 1804 Captain John Bil-
lings and Mr. James Douglas, of "Westfleld, Massachusetts, came to
Trenton. They were merchants, and by marriage related to one
another, and to Dr. Guiteau. They wore both Democrat?, and could
live in hnrmony, and they entered into a partnership which lasted
several years. Mr. Billings was appointed postmaster in 1805, and
held his position about fifty years, and accounted for every cent of the
receipts of his office. Ho was born in 1781, and died in 1803.

" The grandfather of Mr. James Douglas was a native of Scotland.
He became a planter on the island of Jamaica. He had two children,
a son and daughter. His son, Thomas James Douglas, at the age of
eighteen, and in the year l7o8, came to America, with two servants,
landing at Providence, Rhode Island. He engaged in the Revolu-
tionary struggle with Great Britain, holding the commission of major
in the army. He corresponded with General Washington, and also
with other officers, and this correspondence is still extant. His son,
James Douglas, was born at Westfield, Mass., in 1778, and, as I have
already mentioned, came here in the fall of 1804, with Captain Bil-
lings. They were strongly urged to stop at Utica, but the hill-sides
about Utica were very wtt, while the lowlands were subject to the
overflowings of the Mohawk River, and they decided to come here.
Mr. Douglas died in 1851, leaving a widow and sons and daughters,
who survive him.

" Captain Billings held a commission in the war of 1812, and wont
with his company to Sacket's Harbor. For thirty years Mr. Douglas
and Captain Billings were associated in business, and when they dis-
solved partnership the new firm was Douglas A Son. About 1810
there were five stores at Trenton, which were carried on by the fol-
lowing persons: Mappa & Remsen, Chapman & Cooper, Billings &
Douglas, Brooks & Mason, and Mr. Griswold.

" At that time there was no village of Prospect. There was Rem-
sen, but no store there; Holland Patent, but no store there; Russia,
but no store there; and thus the trade of that part of Herkimer
County, and all this part of Oneida County, was tributary to your
village, and some of your trade came over from Martinsburg,

" Mr. Tuttle states that Colonel Thomas Hicks built the house in
which Dr. Guiteau now resides. Colonel Hicks was an influential
and active citizen, and an earnest Federalist.

"The house in which Judge Vanderkemp resided Mr. Tuttle
thinks was built by him. This is quite likely, but the original poor,
thin, cold building cannot now be recognized in the pretty and
comfortable cottage occupied by Mr. Silebee.

"From 1816 to 1871 Mr. Tuttle owned 164 acres of land, which
included all of Trenton Falls on the west side of Canada Creek up to
Fanning's (now Perkins') south line, cxce]it the first, or Sherman's
Fall. He gave for it, in 1S16, from S20 to S25 per acre, and sold it,
in 1871, to Mr. Moore, for iflOO per acre; but Mr. Moore occupied the
land twenty years before he purchased it. Mr. Tuttle states that
prior to 1832 those who wished to see the Falls used to stop at the
Backus Hotel, — now Mr. Skinner's house, — in your village, and then
go to the ravine by a path across the fields and through some gates.
"About the year 1322, Joseph Bonaparte, who then lived in New
Jersey, gave some money to Mr. Backus to blast out some of the rock
in the ravine, so as to make a safe walk up to the first fill. Bona-
parte was delighted with the beauty of the falls, and predicted that
they would be of great note; and to-diiy Mr. Moore's register will
show the names of visitors from all parts of the world. Among the
first settlers. Judge John Storrs held the office of supervisor eleven
years, Peter Schuyler ten years, and William Rollo eighteen years.
When we look back upon the early settlers, we wish we had the time
to give the name and history of every one; but they number between
two hundred and three hundred as early as 1804.

" Mrs. Ann Jones was the daugher of a AVc'sh Baptist minister.
She began tn live here with the Mappas when about twelve years old,
and lived with them until she was married. She is now about eighty-
six years old, and her memory is good. I have obtained from her
some of the narratives already given to you, and to them should be
added the following account of the substantial manner of living of
our Dutch ancestry :



" * Ist. At half-past aeven in the morning tea and bread and butter.
" * 2d. At i-leven o'clock a lunch for the yentlenien.
*"3d. At one o'clock dinner.
" ' 4th. At aix o'clock a light tea.

"'5th. At nine o'clock a hearty supper of cold meat and hot vegetables,
followed by sound sleep and a good old age.'

" Pascal C. J. De Angelis was of foreign birth, but came to this
country in boyhood. He took an active part in the Revolutionary
war, in the naval service; was takea prisoner by the British, and con-
lined in Dartmoor prison. After the war he built and commanded a
vessel in the merchant service, trading principally with the West
Indies, Becoming acquainted with Mr. Johnson, one of the proprie-
tors of Holland Patent, named after Lord Holland, and which must
not be confounded with the land of the Holland Land Company, he
was persuaded by his friend, Mr. Fisk, to forsake his favorite element,
and to join him and a Mr. Hubbard in the purchase of one-quarter of
this Holland Patent. They all came on in 1797, finding an unbroken
wilderness, except where a few families had made small clearings.

" Under the date of Oct. 12, 1797, James Hulbert receipts ' the sum
of one hundred and twenty dollars of P. C. J. Be Angelis, for im-
provements and buildings.' These consisted of a log house, on land
now occupied by W. W. De Angelis as a garden. In this rude
building the family of Judge De Angelis were glad to take their first
night's rest at their new home.

" Mr. Fisk built the first frame house, namely, that in which F. H.
Thomson now lives.

"Judge De Angelis built the next, now occupied by Mr. Charles
M. White and his aged mother. This was built in the year ISOO.

'* I must hero close this imperfect and uufinished account of some
of the first settlors of Trenton, but not without the hope of gathering
hereafter more facts and making a more complete record.

" This celebration is the work of the ladies of Trenton, and it is
upon their invitation that I have given this review of the early his-
tory of this place; but no review can be considered complete which
fails to show how large a share of the prosperity and virtue of the
early settlers was due to the self-denial and intelligence and Christian
principles of the women who shared with the men all the trials and
dangers and deprivations of their forest life.

** The women of the Revolution and of the first settlements were the
equ.nis of the men in courage and resource to meet the necessities of a
new country, and they were their superiors in refinement. The wives
of the distinguished persons I have mentioned brought with them all
the politeness and courtly manners of the Old World, and imparted
them to their children. The memory of Miss Mappa and Miss Van-
dcrkcmp is still fresh in the minds of you nil, — their unassuming good-
nc3.«, their gentle ways, not unraingled with energy, are household
talk with you, and so did they endear themselves to you that you yet
think and speak of them as relatives; nor do we forget the fresh
grave of Madame De Castro.

'* I venture not beyond the mention of these names, lest I trespass
upon grounds which you may think too sacred for this public occasion,
but I can say that the same general traits of character pervaded this
community; the religious, the thinking, and the working blood of the
old world (and that is the only blood worth having or saving) found
its way here, and showed its superiority as well in the forests of
America as in the courts of kings. Mothers instilled into the hearts
and minds of their children patriotism and virtue, and it is only
when men depart from maternal precepts that they sacrifice their
inte-^rity for money, and bring disgrace upon the offices of trust con-
fided to them. To restore integrity and purity to the American people,
in public and private, wc look not to legislatures, not to governors or
presidents, not to conventions, but to the mother's teachings in her
own home, where she reigns supreme, and where her infiuenee will
determine the future history of this country.

" It is for her to check the extravagance of the day, and to restore
the simplicity and economy of living' of the early days of the republic.
" When I consider the past I have no misgivings of the future.
The history of the settlers of Trenton is the fulfillment of the words
of the Psalmist, ' Though he suff'er them to be evil entreat'-'d through
tyrants, and let them wander out of the way in thb wilderness, yet
helpeth he the poor out of misery and maketh him households like a
flock of sheep;' and with the Psalmist may we all say, ' Let them give
thanks whom the Lord hath redeemed and delivered from the hand of
the enemy; and gathered them out of the lands from the East and
from the West, from the North and from the South.' "

Vincent Tuttle, mentioned in Mr. Seymour's address,
came with his father, Daniel Tuttle, from Suffolk Co., Long
Island, N. Y., in 1794. and settled at Norway, Herkimer
Co. In 1804 they removed to Oneida County, and located
in the town of Trenton, near what is now Prospect village.
Vincent Tuttle, who was but four years of age when his
father settled in Herkimer County, after attaining his ma-
jority located on a farm between Prospect and Trenton
villages, and resided there for fifty-one years. He is now
living in the village of Holland Patent. Daniel Tuttle was
a veteran of the Revolution, and was present at the surren-
der of Burgoyne.

In early days a number of distilleries flourished in the
town, one of which was operated by Vincent Tuttle, who
had a contract for manufacturing 250,000 gallons of spirits
for the use of the army. This was the largest distillery in
town. Mr. Tuttle also at one time was the proprietor of a
store at Trenton Falls.

From Thomas G. Hicks, living at " Joy's Hotel," south
of Trenton village, the following facts were ascertained re-
garding his father. Colonel Thomas Hicks: The latter per-
sonage came from Rhode Island about 1791-92, and located
first in Utica. He helped to build John Post's store at
that place, and erected for himself, on Whitesboro' Street,
a small plank house, which is yet standing. He soon
afterwards removed to Trenton village, where he built the
house now occupied by Dr. Guiteau, about 1794, where he
kept u. hotel, the one in the place. He occupied it
about a year, and in 1795 moved to a farm in South Trenton,
where he built a house and barn, the latter being raised
July 12, 1795. He was himself a carpenter by trade.
His farm in South Trenton is now owned by John James.
Mr. Hicks was the first captain of militia from the town of
Trenton, and was also the first colonel of the old 72d Regi-
ment. He went with the militia to Sacket's Harbor during
the war of 1812. His son, Thomas G. Hicks, is the only
member of the family now living.

" Joy's Hotel," south of Trenton village, was built by
David Wooster about 1840-42, and is now the property of
Henry Joy. Mr. Wooster also built a steam saw-mill, to
furnish plank for the road then being constructed. The
mill was afterwards converted into a grist-mill, and has
since been used as a cheese-factory. It is now abandoned.

The "Utica and Remson Turnpike,'' commonly known as
the " Black River Road," was built before the war of 1812,
the work being superintended by Colonel Thomas Hicks.
The toll-gate in South Trenton was kept by Isaac Curry,
Esq., at his hotel, which stood about a mile and a half south
of the village of South Trenton. This hotel was well
known during the war of 1812. Mr. Curry was a promi-
nent man in the town and county, having been a member
of the Assembly, besides holding several lesser offices. Col-
onel Hicks was long a director of this turnpike company,
and superintendent of the road until his death. He and
Cheney Garrett were partners in a general carpentering
business, and Colonel Hicks only survived Mr. Garrett
about two months. They were ever fast friends in life,
and the death of one undoubtedly hastened that of the

The following copy of a letter, written in 1876 by War-

Residemce or FRANC/S A WlLLBUf^, Trenton, Oneida 0° New York

LlT«f SfLHtVenTS I'HILADtl.f'ltIA

LiTu By L H Evf« a f n a f»

Residence of J. J. DAVfS .South Trenton, Oneida C9 N.Y.



ren C. Rowley, gives many interestini^ items of the early
history of the town :

" Mr. Pomroy Jones, in hia ' Annals of Oneida County,' says, in re-
lation to the south portion of the town of Trenton, ' The first settlors
were Colonel Thomas Hicks, John Garrett and his two sons, Cheney
and Peter, Edward Hughes, nnd Hugh Thomas.' With Hughes and
Thomas should be included the names Ephraim Perkins, John
Curry, his two sons, Elias and laaao, Owen Morris, Lemuel Barrows,
Jedediah Brownell, Lucas Younglove, and Jiimcs Francis. From
good authority I learn that these persons settled in about the follow-
ing order: John Garrett, Cheney and Peter, and Colonel Hicks, about
1792; Hugh Thomas, about 1797; Perkins, Curry, Morris, Barrows,
Brownell, Hughes, Younglove, and Francis, from 1800 to 1810, in
about the order in wbieh their names occur.

"John Garrett was a Revolutionary soldier, born in Brantford,
Conn.; Hicks came from Rhode Island. The latter, with Cheney
and Peter Gui-rett, came to Utica about the same time; they entered
into partnership ns builders. (The articles of copartnership are paid
to have been quite a novelty, and I think they are now in possession
of J. P. Garrett, of South Trenton.) The first work which they did,
I think, was building the store of John Post, on the corner of Whites-
boro' and Genesee Streets; this was in 17U1. They also built a small
house on the south side of Whitesboro' Street, near the corner of
Charles Street. This house is still standing, and is conspicuous as
being eorncrwise towards the street, and somewhat encroaching on
the sidewalk. The Garretts very soon induced their father to move
to this section, and all, with Hicks, went to South Trenton. John
Garrett bought of the Holland Land Company 104 acres lying north
of and adjoining the Nine-Mile Creek, for which he paid four dollars
per acre ; here he erected a log house. Hicks bought of the Holland
Land Company 200 acres about one-half mile north of Garrett; paid
four dollars and a half per acre; he built a log house. A few years
later he built a frame house, which is still standing. Hicks subse-
quently built and kept a hotel in Trenton, about where Dr. Guiteau's
ofiice now stands.* Being an admirer of Cincinnatus, he named it
the ' Cincinnatus House,* and had a large sign made on which was
painted a portrait of the Roman patriot. It is said the Cincinnati
Creek derived its name in this manner.

" After getting their father settled in South Trenton, Cheney and
Peter Garrett came to Utica again, and for a considerable time worked
at their trade. The only house that I know of as having been buitt
by them at this time was ii. house on Genesee Hill, still standing as
part of the buildings now occupied by C. P. Davis. About 1802
they returned to South Trenton, Cheney settling down on his father's
place, where he built a frame house (a hotel); the building is still
standing, and is occupied by his son, John P. Garrett. Peter bought
a farm and built a frame house about three-fourths of a mile south

Online LibrarySamuel W DurantHistory of Oneida County, New York : with illustrations and biographical sketches of some of its prominent men and pioneers → online text (page 151 of 192)